2016: LEED in (Reverse) Motion - Part 3

In 2016, LEED NC/CS or BD+C project certifications were 21% below 2015 levels and nearly one-third below 2013 levels. The LEED certification engine for new construction is stuck firmly in reverse.

In this blog, we continue to show LEED results from 2016 in various building sectors. Overall, the total number of LEED new construction projects, as shown in nonresidential new construction and core and shell certifications, fell 21% below 2015 levels, to only about 1,500 projects, down about one-third from the peak in 2013. Total certified project area fell in 2016 and has only grown 6% in the five years since 2011. What does seem clear from these and other data is that LEED is favored by very large commercial and corporate office projects in major cities, but is disfavored by just about every other type of project in just about every other location. This phenomenon is discussed in detail in my 2016 book, Reinventing Green Building: Why Certification Systems Aren't Working and What We Can Do About It.

The chart below, showing a slight growth in LEED certified project area over the past five years, even while total certifications are declining, indicates that LEED users continue to gravitate toward larger projects, such as office towers in major urban areas, but neglecting anything smaller. In this way, LEED continues to be used by the "upper echelon" of building owners and developers and ignored by just about everyone else.